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4 Chili Recipes for Your Next Cookoff

5 minutes read Oct 14,2020
4 Chili Recipes for Your Next Cookoff

Mmm, it's an autumn day and the scents of aromatic spices are filling the kitchen. That's right, it's chili day! We're testing four of our favorite chili recipes that we make every fall and winter. While great for the home, these hearty recipes are also suitable for chili cookoffs, perhaps the best food-related event in fall.

Check these chili recipes out, add your own signature twist, and have a blast cooking chili this season!

Enjoy Autumn with Four Hearty Chili Recipes

1. Classic Beef Chili

Can you ever go wrong with a classic beef chili? There's something about the warm blend of spices, tomatoes, beans, and beef that's so comforting. This recipe from Ree Drummond, aka the Pioneer Woman, features the usual suspects, plus a bit of masa for added texture. It's true to tradition and does so perfectly, making it a winner among chili recipes.

Recipe borrowed from Food Network.


  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ cup masa harina
  • 15 ounces kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 15 ounces pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  1. Cook the beef and garlic in a large pot over medium heat until browned. Drain off the excess fat, then pour in the tomato sauce and spices. Stir together, cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for one hour, stirring occasionally.
  2. After an hour, place the masa harina in a small bowl. Add ½ cup water and stir together with a fork. Add the masa mixture to the chili, stir together, then taste and adjust seasoning as needed. More masa paste and/or water can be added to change the consistency.
  3. Add the beans and simmer for 10 minutes. Serve with desired toppings.

2. White Chicken Chili

A little lighter and full of zip, white chili is a refreshing alternative to hearty beef chili. There are various white chili recipes, but this one sticks to the basics including chicken, white beans, and green chiles. Enjoy it topped with cheese and served with tortilla chips.

Recipe borrowed from Taste of Home.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 28 ounces chicken broth
  • 4 ounces chopped green chiles
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 45 ounces great northern beans, drained, rinsed, and divided in thirds
  • Shredded Monterey jack cheese and tortilla chips, for serving
  1. In a large pot over medium heat, cook chicken and onion in oil until lightly browned. Add garlic and cook one minute more. Stir in the broth, green chiles, cumin, oregano, and cayenne and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat to low. With a potato masher or fork, mash one can of white beans until smooth. Add the mashed beans and remaining whole beans to chili. Simmer for 20-30 minutes until chicken is cooked through and onion is tender.
  3. Serve with cheese and tortilla chips.

3. Smoky Black Bean Chili

The prior two chili recipes are great, but what if you have a vegetarian joining the mix? Fortunately, chili is one of those dishes that's just as good without meat as it is with meat. With a little focus on spices, you can make a meatless chili that will knock your socks off!

Recipe borrowed from Gimme Some Oven.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 12 ounces beer or vegetable broth
  • 45 ounces black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 30 ounces diced tomatoes and green chiles
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion and sauté for five minutes until translucent, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and continue sauteing for two minutes until fragrant. Add all remaining ingredients and stir to combine.
  2. Bring the chili to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for at least 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, if needed.

4. Pumpkin Chili

You read that right. We're closing out our list of chili recipes with a pumpkin chili. While pumpkin is an unusual addition, it adds an earthy flavor that pairs well with aromatic spices. This recipe embraces the quirkiness to create a slightly sweet, fragrant chili that will set you apart from the competition. And in a good way!

Recipe borrowed from A Spicy Perspective.


  • 2 pounds ground pork, turkey, or chicken
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo, chopped
  • 29 ounces pumpkin puree
  • 24 ounces hard cider
  • 30 ounces kidney beans, drained
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 ½ tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  1. Place a large pot over medium heat. Add ground meat and break into small pieces with a wooden spoon. Add onion, bell pepper, garlic, and chipotle peppers and cook until the meat is browned and the onions are soft.
  2. Add the pumpkin puree, hard cider, beans, and broth to the pot. Then add the spices and bay leaves to the pot and stir to combine.
  3. Simmer for at least 30 minutes on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Remove the bay leaves before serving.
With chili recipes in hand, you're now ready for your next chili cookoff. Before you go, don't forget to pass this post along to other chili cooks. Just make sure they're not competing against you!   Related Posts